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稳定币大热,其中这种币最受关注

稳定币大热,其中这种币最受关注

OLGA KHARIF, ZEKE FAUX, AND BLOOMBERG 2021年10月10日
支持Tether流通的690亿美元安全资产是否真的安全?

这看起来可能有些自相矛盾,但在野蛮生长的加密货币世界里,一些最高金融监管机构最担心的往往是旨在提供最高安全性的数字货币。甚至就连其名字“稳定币”都散发着稳定性。但整个稳定币市场以及当下最火的稳定币Tether受到了越来越多的关注,人们担心稳定币可能会给加密货币用户甚至全球金融体系带来风险。围绕Tether的另一个问题就是,支持Tether流通的690亿美元安全资产是否真的安全?

什么是稳定币?

稳定币是一种数字资产,可以被称作货币或代币,以保值为目的。也就是说,和传统货币一样,稳定币的价格波动要比比特币等加密货币的走势变化小得多。例如,Tether的代币价值与美元1:1锚定,用户可以随时在Tether代币与美元之间进行兑换。

稳定币的实现方式

稳定币通过以下两种方式运行。抵押型稳定币与另一种资产挂钩,比如美元,这类稳定币的发行方通过持有该资产或具有类似安全性的资产来支持其代币。另一类就是加密货币抵押型稳定币,这类稳定币受以太币等加密货币价格制约,或在DeFi(去中心化金融)应用程序中,与一系列代币挂钩。还有一些算法型稳定币依靠系统自身的算法管理代币供求,对流通和持有的代币加以匹配。

稳定币的种类

目前市面上有十几种稳定币,今年5月稳定币总市值超1000亿美元,并且还会有更多的稳定币面世。热门稳定币大多都与美元挂钩。但最火热的稳定币是Tether Holdings Ltd发行的Tether。目前流通的Tether高达690亿,其中今年就发行了480亿。

稳定币为何大受欢迎?

加密货币和传统金融本是两个独立的领域,而稳定币可以充当二者之间的媒介。用户可以通过稳定币有效锁定加密货币交易中获取的收益,投资者也可以利用稳定币规避下行风险。稳定币还可以让资金与加密货币的交易变得更快捷。许多交易所与银行之间并未建立定期货币存款或取款所需的关系,但可以接受Tether等稳定币。最后,利用区块链技术替代传统的支付基础设施,稳定币可以简化和加快交易和转账进程,费用也更低。

Tether面临的困境

多年来,Tether的支持储备金一直饱受质疑。一群批评人士始终认为,尽管Tether Holdings做出了保证,但该公司持有的法定货币并不足以维持稳定币所需的一对一挂钩,这就意味着Tether代币本质上是一种欺诈。Tether试图通过公布某会计师事务所出具的认证来打消这些疑虑,称其账户中确实拥有必要的现金储备,但这些操作也引发了其他问题。

Tether的支持储备金

《彭博商业周刊》(Bloomberg BusinessWeek)10月7日发布的一项调查发现,Tether的储备金包括向中国大公司提供的数十亿美元短期贷款,而这却是资本市场基金避之不及的投资领域。报道还称,Tether以比特币作为抵押,向其他加密货币公司提供了数十亿美元的贷款。Tether称,该公司绝大多数商业票据都获得了信用评级公司的高评级,而且其贷款的风险很低,因为借方必须提供高于其借贷金额的比特币。该公司还补充称,其代币拥有足够的支持储备金。

金融监管态度

其中两位位高权重者:美国财政部长珍妮特·耶伦(Janet Yellen)和美联储主席杰罗姆·鲍威尔(Jerome Powell)呼吁对稳定币进行监管。耶伦正在推动金融监管机构“迅速采取行动”,为稳定币建立监管框架。美国证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission)呼吁将大多数加密货币视为证券,稳定币能否与银行存款一样被监管仍有待商榷。部分人士认为,国会必须澄清情况。美国司法部还就Tether高管是否存在银行欺诈行为启动了刑事调查。

担忧

监管机构称,由于稳定币可以在不经过美国银行系统的情况下交换大量等值美元并规模迅速扩大。这使得非法融资可以轻松绕过政府金融系统的监管。鲍威尔在国会听证会上表示:“稳定币就像货币基金、银行存款,增长速度非常快,但缺乏适当的监管。”他们还担心恐慌会导致类似银行挤兑的情况。2008年金融危机和2020年新冠疫情市场崩盘期间,货币市场基金都需要美联储迅速采取行动,防止没有担保的投资池出现崩盘的可能性。(财富中文网)

译者:唐尘

这看起来可能有些自相矛盾,但在野蛮生长的加密货币世界里,一些最高金融监管机构最担心的往往是旨在提供最高安全性的数字货币。甚至就连其名字“稳定币”都散发着稳定性。但整个稳定币市场以及当下最火的稳定币Tether受到了越来越多的关注,人们担心稳定币可能会给加密货币用户甚至全球金融体系带来风险。围绕Tether的另一个问题就是,支持Tether流通的690亿美元安全资产是否真的安全?

什么是稳定币?

稳定币是一种数字资产,可以被称作货币或代币,以保值为目的。也就是说,和传统货币一样,稳定币的价格波动要比比特币等加密货币的走势变化小得多。例如,Tether的代币价值与美元1:1锚定,用户可以随时在Tether代币与美元之间进行兑换。

稳定币的实现方式

稳定币通过以下两种方式运行。抵押型稳定币与另一种资产挂钩,比如美元,这类稳定币的发行方通过持有该资产或具有类似安全性的资产来支持其代币。另一类就是加密货币抵押型稳定币,这类稳定币受以太币等加密货币价格制约,或在DeFi(去中心化金融)应用程序中,与一系列代币挂钩。还有一些算法型稳定币依靠系统自身的算法管理代币供求,对流通和持有的代币加以匹配。

稳定币的种类

目前市面上有十几种稳定币,今年5月稳定币总市值超1000亿美元,并且还会有更多的稳定币面世。热门稳定币大多都与美元挂钩。但最火热的稳定币是Tether Holdings Ltd发行的Tether。目前流通的Tether高达690亿,其中今年就发行了480亿。

稳定币为何大受欢迎?

加密货币和传统金融本是两个独立的领域,而稳定币可以充当二者之间的媒介。用户可以通过稳定币有效锁定加密货币交易中获取的收益,投资者也可以利用稳定币规避下行风险。稳定币还可以让资金与加密货币的交易变得更快捷。许多交易所与银行之间并未建立定期货币存款或取款所需的关系,但可以接受Tether等稳定币。最后,利用区块链技术替代传统的支付基础设施,稳定币可以简化和加快交易和转账进程,费用也更低。

Tether面临的困境

多年来,Tether的支持储备金一直饱受质疑。一群批评人士始终认为,尽管Tether Holdings做出了保证,但该公司持有的法定货币并不足以维持稳定币所需的一对一挂钩,这就意味着Tether代币本质上是一种欺诈。Tether试图通过公布某会计师事务所出具的认证来打消这些疑虑,称其账户中确实拥有必要的现金储备,但这些操作也引发了其他问题。

Tether的支持储备金

《彭博商业周刊》(Bloomberg BusinessWeek)10月7日发布的一项调查发现,Tether的储备金包括向中国大公司提供的数十亿美元短期贷款,而这却是资本市场基金避之不及的投资领域。报道还称,Tether以比特币作为抵押,向其他加密货币公司提供了数十亿美元的贷款。Tether称,该公司绝大多数商业票据都获得了信用评级公司的高评级,而且其贷款的风险很低,因为借方必须提供高于其借贷金额的比特币。该公司还补充称,其代币拥有足够的支持储备金。

金融监管态度

其中两位位高权重者:美国财政部长珍妮特·耶伦(Janet Yellen)和美联储主席杰罗姆·鲍威尔(Jerome Powell)呼吁对稳定币进行监管。耶伦正在推动金融监管机构“迅速采取行动”,为稳定币建立监管框架。美国证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission)呼吁将大多数加密货币视为证券,稳定币能否与银行存款一样被监管仍有待商榷。部分人士认为,国会必须澄清情况。美国司法部还就Tether高管是否存在银行欺诈行为启动了刑事调查。

担忧

监管机构称,由于稳定币可以在不经过美国银行系统的情况下交换大量等值美元并规模迅速扩大。这使得非法融资可以轻松绕过政府金融系统的监管。鲍威尔在国会听证会上表示:“稳定币就像货币基金、银行存款,增长速度非常快,但缺乏适当的监管。”他们还担心恐慌会导致类似银行挤兑的情况。2008年金融危机和2020年新冠疫情市场崩盘期间,货币市场基金都需要美联储迅速采取行动,防止没有担保的投资池出现崩盘的可能性。(财富中文网)

译者:唐尘

It may seem paradoxical, but in the entirety of the wild and woolly world of cryptocurrencies, what some of the top financial regulators are most worried about is the flavor of digital money designed to be the safest. Even the name, stablecoin, exudes, well, stability. But stablecoins in general and the giant among them, Tether, have drawn increasing scrutiny amid worries that they could pose risks to cryptocurrency users and even to the global financial system. With Tether, there’s also the question of whether the $69 billion in safe assets that the company issuing the currency says is backing it are really safe.

What are stablecoins?

Stablecoins are digital assets sometimes referred to as coins, sometimes as tokens, that are designed to keep their value. That is, to experience only the kind of volatility seen in traditional currencies, which have price swings that are generally far smaller than those of Bitcoin. Tether, for instance, sells its coins for $1 and promises to redeem them for $1 if customers want their money back.

How do they do that?

In one of two ways. Collateralized stablecoins are pegged to another asset, like the U.S. dollar, and their issuers say they back up the value of their coin by holding on to that asset or something similarly safe. Other stablecoins are pegged to the price of crypto assets such as Ether or, in certain DeFi (decentralized finance) apps, collections of coins put up as collateral. Some employ algorithms to manage supply and demand of the coin so what’s in circulation matches what’s held in reserve.

How many stablecoins are there?

There are dozens of stablecoins in use, with a combined market value that topped $100 billion in May, and more are coming. Most of those with large followings are tied to the U.S. dollar. But the largest is Tether, which is issued by Tether Holdings Ltd. There are now 69 billion Tethers in circulation, 48 billion of them issued this year.

Why are the coins popular?

Stablecoins can be a bridge between two worlds that weren’t designed with mixing in mind -- cryptocurrencies and traditional finance. That makes them useful as a way to lock in gains from crypto trading or as a safe harbor if investors think a downturn is coming. They also make it easier to move funds onto crypto exchanges. Many exchanges don’t have the relationships with banks needed to offer regular currency deposits or withdrawals, but can and do accept stablecoins such as Tether. Finally, stablecoins can streamline, speed up and make cheaper purchases and money transfers by using a different technology, called blockchain, instead of the traditional payments infrastructure.

What’s going on with Tether?

Doubts about Tether’s backing have dogged it for years. A persistent group of critics has argued that, despite the company’s assurances, Tether Holdings doesn’t have enough assets to maintain the 1-to-1 exchange rate, meaning its coin is essentially a fraud. Tether has attempted to dispel those doubts by releasing attestations from an accounting firm stating that it does have the money, but those have raised other questions.

What is Tether backed by?

A Bloomberg Businessweek investigation, published Oct. 7, found that Tether’s reserves include billions of dollars of short-term loans to large Chinese companies -- something money-market funds avoid. It also reported that Tether had made loans worth billions of dollars to other crypto companies, with Bitcoin as collateral. Tether said the vast majority of its commercial paper has high grades from credit-rating firms, and that its secured loans are low-risk, because borrowers have to put up Bitcoin that’s worth more than what they borrow. The coins are fully backed, it added.

What do financial regulators say?

Two of the most powerful of them, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, have called for regulation of stablecoins. Yellen is pushing financial regulators to “act quickly” in drafting stablecoin rules. It remains unclear whether a push to treat them like bank deposits will win out over a campaign by the Securities and Exchange Commission to approach most cryptocurrencies as if they’re securities. Some say Congress must clarify the situation. The U.S. Department of Justice has also opened a criminal investigation into whether Tether executives committed bank fraud.

What’s the worry?

Regulators say the growing size of stablecoins has created a situation where huge amounts of U.S. dollar-equivalent coins are being exchanged without touching the U.S. banking system, potentially blinding regulators to illicit finance. “They are like money funds, they’re like bank deposits and they’re growing incredibly fast but without appropriate regulation,” Powell said in testimony before Congress. They’re also worried about a panic causing something like a bank run. Money-market funds needed swift action by the Fed during both the 2008 financial crisis and the 2020 Covid-19 market crash to keep the uninsured investment pools from possible collapse.

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